Photo by Debra Lopez
and expect to survive....
Long before any tax bill came into place, the very first thing a smart artist would have done was interview and hire a business coach or manager, or accountant or entertainment lawyer to create a business plan that would protect them for the long run.
Pay a business person to help you structure a business
instead of wasting money paying creatives to make your art
and hope that you'll be discovered...
Every new theatre company hires actors and puts on readings BEFORE
- they hire a development director (to raise money),
- a managing director to oversee the business, keep it afloat & keep uncle sam happy so the theatre lights don't get turned off.
but what do artists do?
no, the first thing they do is cast a reading and do it for free...hoping someone will produce their play that has no money behind it and no audience.. because of course, someone should give me their thousands of dollars, i'm talented, the work is brillant....and so fucking what?
A producer, agent, manager cannot feed their children, pay their office overhead, send their children to college and pay mortages on the depth of your talent.
Especially talent, that nobody except Adam's house cat knows anything about. If the work has no following, how do we know if it's even good enough to get a following and make money?
And without a following, the story makes no money, because no one saw it.
When was the last time, you shelled out a million dollars for something that was good that was going to make you exactly zero dollars?
Instead of producing stories without a business structure, our first question should be,
- How will i pay for this peice of art to be made?
- How will I create something that uncle sam won't throw me down a whole for come tax time?
- How do I create a structure that allows me to continually tell stories, hire myself and my fellow artists for the long term?
In my entire career, I have never ever heard an artist say that once.
How about we tell stories, make art and build institutions that will support us, our dreams, our children all at the same time?
I am really over the artist as dumb,
child-like victim who can't protect themselves
or their god-given talent....
It's an old, fear-driven model....
Starting an artistic endeavor after having done your research, set up business structures to help you tell your story and survive is smart.
What's not smart is trying to do something you've never done on a shoestring budget, spending your own money and credit cards to make it happen and then when it's all said and done, complain to the world about how hard it is to be an artist and how broke you are and walk around mad..
When in reality, when you were raising funds for costumes, that should have been money you were paying a business manager or entertainment attorney to set up your business.
- Capitalism has nothing to do with talent or merit.
- Capitalism protects those who understand how it works and who know how to generate profit, create wealth and hire people.
It exists entirely for that purpose: to make money.
I, on the other hand, exist entirely to leave the world better than I found it by teaching and my storytelling.
I cannot do my mission, without learning the tools that allow me to tell story: How to Run a Fucking Business
Making money from your art does not make you less of an artist.
But rather, it makes you powerful agent for social change...
It makes you a powerful representative for those folks without voice or power cannot be heard.
It makes you the conscience of a society because you hold a mirror up to that society and hold it accountable for the promise and where it falls short of the dream...
You can do none of that worried about spending money being cute and tearing up in front of the camera while you collect unemployment. Then the work is about you, not the importance of storytelling.
The only reason artists don't know this or won't admit it to themselves is because the institutions that trained artists are run by capitalists who founded the mayflower and who are in business to get folks to work as hard as possible for as little as possible.
It's old...and self-destructive....chaos mentality....
It's also the undoing of the artist...
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April Yvette Thompson